It’s only February, and even the groundhog doesn’t seem to think that summer is coming any time soon. So who’s thinking about summer jobs?
Employers are. Google “Summer jobs” and you will find a list of jobs and programs in your community with opportunities for youth and post-secondary students. You might even be surprised to find that some of those opportunities’ deadlines have already passed and been taken by a quick early bird.
Don’t worry, though. It isn’t too late. There are still plenty good opportunities out there to find something meaningful.
Why look for summer work?
Besides the obvious reasons for working (i.e. bringing in some much needed cash), a summer job might have some unexpected benefits which are even more beneficial than money in the long term, which may include:
- Add some new experience to your resume
- Network and meet new people, some of whom might want to hire you permanently or hire you again next summer
- Make a good impression and gain a reference
- Learn some new skills that you can take to your next job or help develop new business ideas.
First: make sure your resume is up-to-date and looking good.
Have a resume ready before you start looking for work. Don’t wait until there’s a job to apply for — you don’t want to rush this process.
Here are a few basic principles for writing a good resume:
- Make it no longer than 2 pages
- Use a simple, san sarif font (Arial, Calibri, Helvetica)
- Write it in 1st person, but without pronouns (No “I” or “my”)
- Your name and contact info
- A Summary/Profile which includes your skills
- Work history, with dates, job titles, company names, locations
- Details of some of your key accomplishments in each job
- Don’t include:
- An objective
- Your personal info such as age or citizenship
- Your references (those can be presented at the interview)
- Make sure to spell check carefully
- Prepare a simple, short and well written cover letter, to accompany each resume, written specifically for each job.
Here are detailed instructions and samples for student resumes from some of my favourite sites:
- Monster.ca: High School Student Resume Sample & Template
- University of Toronto Career Centre: First-time resume writing
- About Job Searching: Resume Examples and Templates for Students
- Government of Canada — Services for Youth. Writing a Resume
Second: get online, search for and bookmark relevant job sites for leads.
There are lots of good resources online for work leads. Start off with a Google search and bookmark the sites that seem to lead to good opportunities. Check out some of the sites dedicated to summer or student jobs:
- Toronto Public Library: Summer jobs listings
- JobPostings.ca — Student Jobs
- TalentEgg — job site and online career resource for students and recent graduates
- Job Bank — Advanced Search
Third: seek out government programs.
All levels of government, including federal, provincial and municipal, have programs to help students look for and find work. These positions fill quickly, so don’t delay:
- City of Toronto Summer Job Opportunities
- Government of Ontario: Job programs for youth
- Government of Canada: Federal Student Work Experience Program
- Enterprise Toronto: Starter Company (self employment training for youth)
Fourth: look and ask around — tap into your networks.
Speak to family, friends, teachers and other community members about your job needs. Tell them about your availability and skills. Have your resume available to share.
Look around, there are often opportunities right nearby:
- Local stores and services might be looking for help — walk in and ask if they’re hiring students. Offer your resume and tell them them that you live nearby, within easy access. Think of your bank, doctor’s office, local mall or supermarket
- Check out websites for the local parks and recreation departments, as well as for summer festivals and events
- Think about local summer camps, private and public, day camps and overnights. Think of your particular skill set — is there a local tennis, chess or art club that you could work for?
Act fast: get your resume ready, go online and ask around. Good student opportunities are out there for those who act quickly.
For more job search tips for summer jobs, check out our previous posts on this topic.